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Honey hunting in Nepal

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Hony Hunting is one of the rare activitity that you can see only in Nepal. Twice a year, the Indigenous Gurung and Magar community from the Himalayn foothills of Central Nepal, gather around the high cliffs that are home to the world’s largest honey bee (Apis Laboriosa). This activity of collecting honey is an ancient tradition handed down through generations which require remarkable skills and only undertaken by highly experienced villages. This activity is also considered one of the most risky activities that are performed around the world. The hunters hand from cliffs more than 300m tall with the help of home-made hemp ropes and ladders. The wild bees choose difficult perches high on steep rock faces for their hives. The honey is harvested twice a year, once in April-May and then in October-November. The collected honey has a high market value as it is used for producing several medicines, or at least it can be used as a daily dose of villagers for bread Jam.

The harvest ritual, which varies slightly from community to community, begins with a prayer and sacrifice of flowers, fruits, and rice. Then a fire is lit at the base of the cliff to smoke the bees from their honeycombs. From above, a honey hunter descends the cliff harnessed to a ladder by ropes. As his mates secure the rope and ladder from the top and ferry tools up down as required, the honey hunter fights territorial bees as he cuts out chunks of honey from the comb." The Bees Apis laboriosa and Apis dorsata are indigenous to the region and traditional methods of harvesting the honey on steep cliffs have remaned unchanged for generations.

Despite, the honey hunting tradition in Nepal has a high potential for tourism, special package of honey hunting for tourists has not been developed yet. Nerveless only a few lucky tourists get their chance to observe honey hunting on spot while traveling along the trekking routes of Annapurna Region and Ganesh Himal. There are countless bee nests found in the inner and outer rings of different trekking areas which if professionally, scientifically and technically managed, will provide an immense potentiality of promoting honey hunting as an add-on product for local revenue generation and attracting more and more tourists in Nepal.

However, still some of the work has been done by private sector. The Himalayan Honeybees project for the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu has been actively involved in the sustainable management of honey hunting and work with the local communities to ensure the survival of the species. Tourism in this area helps communities protect the flora and fauna, and so gives the bees and local hunters a chance to co-exist and continue. There are great views of peaks Lamjung Himal, Manaslu, Hiunchuli, Buddha Himal and Annapurna II. Also there are several travel and trekking agencies that help out tourists for arranging the tour packages in the region.

Information about travel and trekking agencies for Honey Hunting:

 Click here for the list of more Travel and Treking agencies in Nepal.

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 12:56

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